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Rove won’t deny contacting DOJ about Siegelman case

By David Edwards
Sunday, May 25, 2008 12:11 EDT
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ABC’s George Stephanopoulos talked with Karl Rove about his role in the prosecution of Alabama Governor Don Siegelman. Rove repeated the claim that he learned about the prosecution in the newspaper but refused to deny that he had contacted the Justice Department to discuss the prosecution.

Partial Transcript

STEPHANOPOULOUS: We’re just about out of time. As we know and our viewers probably know you were subpoenaed this week by the house Judiciary Committee to give testimony on any involvement you may have had with the prosecution of the former Alabama Governor Don Siegelman. He’s claiming there was selective prosecution. He’s out on bail now even though he was convicted. He said your fingerprints are all over it. The House report said — “in Selma 2007 a Republican attorney for northern Alabama named Jill Simpson wrote an affidavit stating that in November 2002 she heard a prominent Alabama Republican operative named Bill Canary say that Karl Rove had contacted the Justice Department about bringing a prosecution of Don Siegelman. The question for Mr. Rove is whether he directly or indirectly discussed the possibility of prosecuting Don Siegelman with either the Justice Department or Alabama Republicans.” did you?

ROVE: Let me say three things, first of all, I think it’s interesting — everybody who was supposedly on that telephone call that miss simpson talks about says the call never took place. I’d say –

STEPHANOPOULOS: We’re just about out of time. As we know and our viewers probably know you were subpoenaed this week by the house Judiciary Committee to give testimony on any involvement you may have had with the prosecution of the former Alabama Governor Don Siegelman. He’s claiming there was selective prosecution. He’s out on bail now even though he was convicted. He said your fingerprints are all over it. The House report said — “in Selma 2007 a Republican attorney for northern Alabama named Jill Simpson wrote an affidavit stating that in November 2002 she heard a prominent Alabama Republican operative named Bill Canary say that Karl Rove had contacted the Justice Department about bringing a prosecution of Don Siegelman. The question for Mr. Rove is whether he directly or indirectly discussed the possibility of prosecuting Don Siegelman with either the Justice Department or Alabama Republicans.” did you?

ROVE: Let me say three things, first of all, I think it’s interesting — everybody who was supposedly on that telephone call that miss simpson talks about says the call never took place. I’d say –

STEPHANOPOULOS: Although she produced a cell phone record according to the committee.

ROVE: Well, I would say three things. First of all, I have — I learned about Don Siegelman’s prosecution by reading about it in the newspaper. Second of all, this is really about a Constitutional question of the separation of powers. Congress, the house judiciary committee wants to be able to call presidential aides on its whim up to testify, violating the separation of powers, executive privilege has been asserted by the White House. In a similar instance in the senate. It will probably be asserted quickly in the House. Third, the White House and — has agreed, I’m not — I’m not asserting any personal privilege. The White House has offered, and my lawyers offered several different ways in which if the House wants to find out information about this they can find out information about this. And they’ve refused to avail themselves of those opportunities. We didn’t say, close off any option to do anything else you want to do in the future. We said if you want to hear about this let’s sit down and talk about this and then you’re entitled to do what you want to do in the future. This is now tied up in court. It’s going to be tied up in court and settled in court. And frankly the house last week doing this is, you know, duplicating what the Senate has done.

STEPHANOPOULOS: But to be clear you did not contact the Justice Department about this case?

ROVE: I read about — I’m going to simply say what i’ve said before, which is I found out about Don Siegelman’s investigation and indictment by reading it in the newspaper.

STEPHANOPOULOS: But that’s not a denial.

ROVE: I’ve — you know, I read — I heard about it, read about it, learned about it for the first time by reading about it in the newspaper.

STEPHANOPOULOS: Mr. Rove, thanks very much.

This video is from ABC’s This Week, broadcast May 25, 2008.

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David Edwards
David Edwards
David Edwards has served as an editor at Raw Story since 2006. His work can also be found at Crooks & Liars, and he's also been published at The BRAD BLOG. He came to Raw Story after working as a network manager for the state of North Carolina and as as engineer developing enterprise resource planning software. Follow him on Twitter at @DavidEdwards.
 
 
 
 
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